Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

May 3, 2013

Troup ace Ross has Austin on her mind

Jay Neal
Jacksonville Daily Progress

CUSHING —  Troup's pitching ace, Josee Ross, is quickly developing a reputation as someone who reaches her goals.

And with her Lady Tiger softball team set to open a best-of-3 Class 2A, Region III playoff series with a 7 p.m. date opposite Central Heights tonight in Cushing, accomplishing objectives becomes paramount for Ross and company.

Last year, amidst a season where the Lady Tigers won a school-record 30 games and advanced all the way to the regional semi-finals, Ross, then a freshman, set a goal of 200 strike outs for herself. She easily attained that goal.

This season Ross set her sights on besting the school record for most strike outs in a season, which was held by her sister, Jessica Ross.

Josee, who owns a 21-5 record and a 1.10 earned run average, scratched that off her list on April 5 when her five strike outs against West Rusk gave her the new school record (226) — since that time she has added a slew more; in fact she has 251 in 177.2 innings of work.

So, what's next for the tall and lean 10th grader?

“I want us (the Lady Tigers) to be able to get to Austin (the site of the UIL state softball tournament) this year,” Ross said. “We've got Katelyn Standley here this year and she will be gone next year, so we need to go this year.”

Ross states that if she can mange to hit her spots, good and maybe even great things can come the Lady Tigers' way in the playoffs.

“I have about five pitches that I can use —my change up can be a little sketch at times — but I love to throw the screwball,” Ross said. “I try to not to miss my spots. One time when I missed this season the ball went over the fence, so location is key for me.”

Standley, the team's senior catcher, has signed with Stephen F. Austin State University and leads the Lady Tigers of head coach Sam Weeks in hitting.

Standley is 49-for-83 (.590) this year and has jacked nine balls over the fence while driving in 50 runs — she also leads Troup in homers and RBI.

Ronni Boyer, an outfielder is Troup's other senior.

Boyer, who has provided a steady glove in the field all year, is batting .231 and has six RBI this year.

Ross helps her own cause plenty. She will bring a .432 (41-for-95) batting average into the post season. She has belted four home runs and has driven in 31.

Caitlin Tomlin also has been an offensive stalwart for the Lady Tigers.

Tomlin, a junior, has swatted three homers and has amassed 30 RBI and is hitting .387 (36-for-93).

Junior Bethany Mason (.374) and Lee Ann Lloyd (.358), a sophomore, have also swung potent sticks this season.

NOTE: Game 2 is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday and if a third game is needed it will be played shortly after the completion of Game 2...Saturday's action will also take place at Cushing High School...Central Heights smacked Warren, 9-2, Monday evening in bi-district play to advance to take on the Lady Tigers...The winner of the Troup-Central Heights series will advance to face either Woodville or Big Sandy Harmony late next week...Central Heights wound up as the District 19-2A runner-up behind Garrison.